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Saint Teresa of Calcutta (Part 2)

We highly recommend reading part 1 of our two part series on Saint Teresa. This article starts later in her life and will have a much lesser impact without learning of her earlier years that we covered in Part 1

Teresa expanded her congregation worldwide, opening the first house in Venezuela with five sisters in 1965, houses in Rome, Tanzania and Austria in 1968, and Europe, United States, additional houses in Africa, and Asia in the 1970s. Mother Teresa started the International Association of Co-Workers of Mother Teresa in 1969 - a group of lay workers who serve the poor in their own families, neighborhoods, towns and cities and work with the Missionaries of Charity. In addition to this lay group, she also formed the Sick and Suffering Co-Workers, a group who through their own illness or poverty could not serve physically, but instead served through prayer. She would form the Missionaries of Charity Brothers in 1963, with the Missionaries of Charity Sisters in 1976.

During the Siege of Beirut in 1982, Mother Teresa helped broker a temporary cease-fire between the Israeli Army and Palestinian guerrillas to save 37 trapped children in one of the town's hospitals. She personally walked through the war torn city streets with Red Cross workers to help evacuate the children. Throughout the 1980s she would expand her work to Communist Countries (many of whom had rejected the Missionaries of Charity) and would write:

"No matter who says what, you should accept it with a smile and do your own work."

In 1981, she created the Corpus Christi Movement for Priests and the Missionaries of Charity Fathers in 1984 with Joseph Langford to combine her mission outreach with the Priesthood. The first of her heart issues arose during this time - In 1983 while visiting Saint Pope John Pul II she had a heart attack which she recovered from. She would then return to Albania for the first time since leaving for India in 1991 to open a Missionaries for Charity home in Tirana.

Her second heart attack came in 1989, and in recovery she received an artificial pacemaker to hopefully prevent future heart issues. Unfortunately, a bout of pneumonia in Mexico (1991) caused additional heart issues and frequent doctor visits. She offered to resign as head of the Missionaries of Charity during this time, but was reelected in a secret ballot by the sisters of the congregation. She suffered a broken collarbone, malaria and heart failure in 1996, prompting the Archbishop of Calcutta Henry Sebastian D'Souza to order a priest to perform an exorcism. The concern for the exorcism was a potential attack by the devil on her body for her missionary work. After two restless nights in the hospital, the priest, Father Rosario Stroscio recited the exorcism prayer. The Archibishop wrote following the exorcism:

"She was totally restless. The doctor could not understand it. She was pulling all of her wires out. But the night after the exorcism she slept very well. She was totally calm.
Mother was such a holy person she was more likely to be troubled by evil spirits, especially in her condition. It could happen that the devil decided to worry her"


"I did nothing special. In the history [of the Catholic Church], hundreds of saints have gone through such things [as exorcism],"

Mother Teresa resigned as head of the organization on March 13, 1997 before passing away on September 5th of the same year.Sister Nirmala (A Hindu convert to Catholicism, Sister Nirmala was born into an Ethic Nepali family an was a member of the Hindu Brahmin priestly class before converting to Catholicism) was elected to take over as head of the mission after an eight-week long selection process.

She would lay in repose in an open casket in Saint Thomas, Calcutta for a week. The Indian government formally gave her a state funeral. Cardinal Secretary of State Angelo Sodano performed the last rites with five additional priests. Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif wrote that she was :

"a rare and unique individual who lived long for higher purposes. Her life-long devotion to the care of the poor, the sick, and the disadvantaged was one of the highest examples of service to our humanity."

The process for beatification began immediately in 1997, with the submission of 76 documents totaling 35,000 pages and containing 113 witness interviews. The Vatican recognized a miracle attributed to her - the healing of an abdomen tumor after putting on a locket containing Saint Teresa's locket. Teresa would be beatified on October 19th, 2003.

The final miracle required for Sainthood occurred in 2008 when A Brazilian man was cured of multiple brain tumors. Pope Francis officially recognized the miracle on December 17th, 2015. Her official Canonization came on September 4th, 2016 in a ceremony at Saint Peter's square in Vatican City by Pope Francis. In Skopje, her home town, the city held a week long celebration and a special mass was celebrated by the Missionaries of Charity in Kolkata. To this day, October 19th is considered a public holiday in Albania named Mother Teresa Day (Dita e Nene Terezes). The say of her death, September 5th has been designated as the International Day of Charity by the United Nations. Kosovo's first Roman Catholic Cathedral was named Saint Teresa Cathedral in 2017.

Today the Missionaries of Charity consists of over 5000 sisters in 139 countries with 758 total homes open. There are 19 homes open in Kolkata and all homes provide their services with no charge.

"The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread.”
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